|October in Albuquerque really only means one thing the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta! That means hot air balloons, and lots of them in this case, over 550 or them launching each day of the fiesta.|
The Albuquerque event is pretty unique. It was the largest such event in the world, and now with limits placed on the number of balloons allowed to register is still one of the largest. Albuquerque is also one of the only places (maybe the only one!) where people can walk out on the field among the balloons.
Of course, the real draw is the balloons in the air. Lots of them, making a polka-dotted sky that's always changing, never the same from minute to minute.
Opening day, October 3rd, was special. The New MexiChords were there to sing. We sang the National Anthem as the official "first balloons" lifted off, carrying our nation's flag, to open festivities for the Fiesta and its Opening Day. Then, after the Mass Ascension, we were back to perform for the crowd.
Our audience apparently enjoyed our performance. That included members of the US Military Academy (West Point) class of 1967 who were having a mini-reunion there. And we really enjoyed performing there. Plus, it was an honor to perform for Opening Day.
(Full disclosure: We were not entirely happy and neither were members of our audience that we got moved up to an earlier time than had been advertised, nor with being cut back from singing two sets to singing just one. Still, ....)
Yes, getting up early enough to meet together at 5:00 a.m. is difficult. (And, if we are invited back, we will have to meet even earlier to have a chance at getting into the Balloon Fiesta parking lots.) But it was worth it. Performing on the Balloon Fiesta's Main Stage was a really good thing.